Editorial: Gone But Not Forgotten

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The recent passing of two influential people leaves our community poorer for their presence, but richer for their contributions.

Abe Anson
I first met Abe years ago at an annual American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS) conference in Washington, D.C. As the unofficial AS P RS historian, Abe had long-since retired, but was still very active. Our conversations over the years eventually revealed an answer to a question I had been asked by many people: how did USGS create the thousands of topo quads that cover our country? Abe had served on field parties in the 1940s and 50s, ranging from Puerto Rico to Maine, doing plane table work to verify the aerial photos used to do the mapping. In doing so he accumulated an enormous amount of information, and I was privileged to help him create two e-books about his experiences. Following his death on May 29, 2005, Abe’s daughter Myra kindly provided the following information about her dad to share with our readers:

Born in New York City, on January 21, 1912, Abraham Anson was the youngest of four children. His father Emil and mother Ida were immigrants from Russia and Latvia. His first job at age five was to pick up newspapers for his older brother who sold them on the city’s street corners.

Abe loved the outdoors. He and a group of young men who canoed the Hudson River formed a canoe club, often paddling around Manhattan Island, camping and enjoying the scenery. He started sketching at a young age and the simple sketches he created in the 1930’s were turned into lovely watercolor paintings many years later. He attended City College for five years, working for Hagelstein Brothers Photographers during the day and attending school at night. Although he never obtained a degree, he was always learning, and was particularly fascinated with mapping. When the U.S. entered War II he was eager and ready. A bit older than the usual private, he was soon accepted into Officers Training School and began teaching new recruits to use their weapons and read maps. He attained the level of Lieutenant Colonel.

After World War II he joined the Reserves and plotted a course in the field. Working for the Geological Survey he spent many years out in the field, establishing ground truth from aerial photos, giving us the accurate maps we have today. Stories of snakes as large as your arm, cooking on wood stoves, and hair-raising adventures made up that portion of his life until 1953 when he took a job "inside" to become a cartographer, drawing the very same maps he had been surveying.

He saw the future was in satellites and soon went to work for the Army Corps of Engineers as a Civil Engineer working on projects that have given us the ability to accurately read satellite images today. He helped design equipment that was invaluable for mapping and accurate intelligence for our nation’s defense; many of those developments are still classified today.

Even after he retired in 1972, Abe remained active in ASPRS. Taking up his brush, he began painting beautiful watercolors, some from memory, some from photographs. Still active in the mapping field, he recently published two e-books (available on CD) on his life and times as a surveyor on the 1940s and 50s.

Abe touched the lives of everyone he met with his kindness, generosity and his unique sense of humor. His love of learning never ceased. Relentlessly curious, always willing to solve a puzzle and incredibly optimistic, he lived the lives of many men all wrapped up in one.

Allen Osborne
Allen W. Osborne, the Founder and President of Allen Osborne Associates, Inc., passed away peacefully at home on May 6th, 2005, after a courageous twoyear battle with cancer. Osborne enjoyed a tremendous and successful career in aerospace, including working at Ryan Aeronautical, leading the marketing team for a division of Teledyne, and finally founding his own company (AOA) with his friend, Dr. Al Schmitt, in 1978. AOA entered the GPS arena beginning around 1980 with the production of the TTR-5 Time Transfer Receiver for NIST. Under Osborne’s leadership, AOA produced many firsts, bests and onlys in GPS for the timing market. He focused on the high-end timing receiver market which culminated in deliveries of sub-nanosecond SAASM-based Time Transfer Receivers to the USNO as well as commercial receiver versions to timing laboratories around the world. Other AOA accomplishments include:
• An underwater telephone for USN Seal Team use
• The manufacture of the JPL-designed Rogue Receiver
• The first commercially-available GPS time and frequency receiver with NIST format (TTR-5) in 1982; the first GPS common-view time transfer receiver w/ 2-5 nsec accuracy in 1983
• The manufacture of the first all digital, 24-channel, 8-satellite P-code GPS receiver (SNR-8 Rogue) in 1985
• The first commercially-available choke ring antenna for multipath suppression in 1985
• The first hand-held dual-frequency Ycode GPS receivers for Geodesy/Surveying (Rascal and Rascal SM) in 1995
• First RTK hand-held GPS surveying system (Rascal with RTK) and the first upgrade of GPS monitor station receiver equipment, the Monitor Receiver Element) in 1996

On behalf of the land surveying community, we extend our sympathy and appreciation to the families of Abe Anson and Allen Osborne. They will be greatly missed.

Marc Cheves is editor of the magazine.

A 193Kb PDF of this article as it appeared in the magazine—complete with images—is available by clicking HERE